Virginia General Assembly returns to Richmond for session now underway

Both the Virginia Senate and Virginia House of Delegates gaveled in to start the process of working through hundreds of pieces of legislation.
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 2:35 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s the official kickoff to the 2023 Virginia General Assembly. Both the Senate and House gaveled in on Wednesday to start the process of working through hundreds of pieces of legislation.

“You can pick and choose your opportunities to strike and try to take the top off the defense and we’re going to continue to do that,” said Del. Jeff Bourne, D-71st District.

Democrats control the Senate and Republicans control the House. Shared power means any proposed legislation can only move forward if there is bipartisan support.

Both parties indicate they can support reforms to the state mental health services as well as better pay for teachers and police officers.

“At the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goals. We have different paths we believe to get there and I think that we’ve shown with divided houses and chambers, we struggle a little bit more, which gives us some better legislation,” said Del. Carrie Coyner, R-62nd District.

Any effort to change abortion law will be stopped by Senate Democrats. There will be a fierce debate over $1 billion in proposed tax cuts from Republicans.

Lawmakers are hopeful they can find some areas where they can agree.

“There are a lot of opportunities, but a lot of those things cost money, and now is the time to make sure we put those resources in the right place,” said Del. Lamont Bagby, D-74th District.

Lawmakers say House and Senate committees are receiving the hundreds of bills that have been offered up for debate.

They will work their way through those committees, and if the legislation makes it out, then it will go to the floor for a full vote.

“We’ll have committee meetings this week, committee hearings this week, and we will get legislation to the floor as quickly as we can and get things moving,” said Del. Mike Cherry, R-66th District.

This meeting of lawmakers is considered a short session, technically 30 days. But lawmakers have already given the go-ahead to extend the session, which will make it 46 days.